March 11, 2018 – Patrol Room Cleanup

Sadly, March 11th was the last day of the 2017-2018 season at Willamette Pass. Even sadder was the fact that the area only opened for a three day period for the entire season. Nevertheless, Dan and I headed up for a “duty” day to clean up the patrol room on Sunday for what would be the official last day of the year, even though the area had been closed since mid-February. It didn’t take long for the few folks who showed up to put the sleds away, take care of the avy gear and radios, organize the aid room, and otherwise clean up the patrol room. By 11:00 am we were done, and gearing up to find some corn on mountain. 

Getting ready to head out

In addition to Dan, Greg and Mark joined us for the skin up on a beautiful sunny day. The snow was frozen as we started out, and the skin went quickly — soon we were heading up Eagle’s, which was just starting to corn…

Heading up Eagle’s

Looking out over Odell

Dan and I topped out before Greg and Mark, and elected to skin over to Peak 2 to check out the conditions. It had been warm the day before, and didn’t appear like anything on the northern aspects would corn, so we decided to head back and try the southern aspects of the front side. Before leaving, I snapped a few pictures of a big roller ball that had dropped down off the cornice with Mt Bachelor in the background….

Roller ball on Peak 2

The turns back down from Peak 2 to the saddle were quite fun, and we made the short hike up to EPA to meet up with Greg and Mark. The sun was beating down pretty nicely, and I captured the below shot of Dan on the hike up…

Hiking up to EPA

At the top, we cracked open a beer and enjoyed a snack along with the views. A few minutes later, Dan and I bid farewell to Greg and Mark, who were going to ski Charlie’s, and dropped in to Timburr. The snow was smooth and near perfect corn, and we enjoyed prime turns down to the glades below…

Dan skiing Timburr

Looking back up Timburr

We put a skin track back in directly up Timburr, and it didn’t take long to reach the top, where our half full cold beers were waiting. Looking out to the south, Diamond was gleaming in the sunlight. We soaked in the views for a few minutes, then decided to do another run on Timburr to give RTS some time to get a little more sun.

Hef

2nd lap corn on Timburr

Run 2 was just as good as run 1, and again we skinned back up to the top. By now, the sun had worked it’s way around to RTS, and our hope was for soft snow on the steepest and best run on the mountain. Dropping in, the snow was smooth, and we enjoyed excellent turns on the upper half of the run…

Dan skiing RTS

Looking out over RTS

Unfortunately, the lower half of the run had slid a day or two earlier due to the warmer weather, but it still skied ok. Dan snapped a few photos of me riding down through the manky debris, including the shot below…

Matt riding the debris

The bottom third of the run was prime, and after exiting through the avy debris, we ripped turns down to Amber’s Way, ultimately ending up on Swoosh for a fun run back down to the car, officially ending the “patrol” season for 2017-18. Although it wasn’t a great year by any stretch of the imagination, I am still thankful for being able to get out in the mountains with friends to enjoy earned turns, and hopeful that next year brings a deep winter snowpack and a long lift-serviced season.

February 18, 2018 – Willamette Pass

It was snowing hard in the mountains, and Dan and Andy were game to head to the Pass for a day of turns.  We made plans to leave early, and met at Dan’s to carpool.  By 6:45 am we were parked, and we headed out shortly thereafter as the morning dawned cold and snowy.

Early on the approach

The snow conditions were pretty nice, especially after the meager winter we’d been suffering through, and breaking trail up KP was something I’d been missing.  We made it to Peak 2 shortly after 8:00 am, and wasted little time in transitioning so we could drop in.  The wind was blowing, it was snowing hard and it was about 26 degrees — definitely winter conditions. Northern looked prime, so I dropped in first and snapped a few photos of Dan and Andy coming down. 

Dan enjoying the deep

Andy skiing Northern

We made turns down to the bottom, and the conditions were excellent.  The last 100 feet was a bit wind blown, so we made a mental note to try Down Under on the next lap.  The skin back to the top was short, albeit breaking trail through the foot of fresh, and we were surprised that nobody else had shown up yet.  Again, we wasted little time transitioning, and headed down.  Dan grabbed the camera and shot a few photos of me, including the one below…

February pow turns at the Pass

We skied down upper Northern, then Down Under, and finished the run with the lower part of June’s.  It was a blast, and reminded me of patrolling in years past.  We put in a short track to rejoin our uptrack, and the wind was howling.  I snapped a few pics of Dan skinning ahead of Andy and I as the wind was blasting….

Dan headed up

Lap number three was equally as fun as laps one and two, and again I snapped a few photos of Dan and Andy ripping up the pow. This time we dropped into the trees in one of my favorite spots on the hill…

Skiing the trees

Andy choking on pow

Once out of the trees, we followed our tracks down June’s and rejoined our skin track for another lap up.  The wind was continuing to pound away, and when we reached the top of Peak 2 we were greeted by Rob and Laurie.  We chatted for a bit and enjoyed some food and a well earned beer, then dropped in for a fourth run.  The snow quality was still perfect, and we took turns with the camera…

Andy floating through the pow

About to enter the white room

Dan’s turn

We headed back up for one more lap. Andy decided to ski Boundary and Dan and I did one more on Northern before rejoining Andy and heading back over to the front.  All of us were pretty beat by the time we skied over to the front, and we headed up to EPA to enjoy another break before skiing back to the car.  For our ski out, we decided on Eagle’s, which ended up being a good choice…

Dan heading over to the front

Eagles Flight

The ski out KP was pretty slow, especially for Dan and I — both of our G3 skins had left a significant amount of glue on our bases and left us well behind Andy.  We were able to make a few fun turns above Sleepy, before getting back to the base…

Turns above Sleepy

At the bottom, we were all stoked on the new snow, especially given what we’d had for winter so far.  With luck, winter will be here to stay for awhile because we’re gonna need it here in the central Oregon Cascades.  Here’s a parting shot from the day…

Matt at the bottom

 

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